So. Tired. Of. Packing. I’m living among mountains of boxes and can’t find anything I want/need at any point of time. Sigh. After this weekend we will be completely moved to the new house and then I will hopefully have some time to organize, organize and hey, do more organizing! I’m such a nerd when it comes to organizing. I get really excited about it and my husband just rolls his eyes. It’s SO not his thing. His method of organizing is to put things into piles of semi-related items. Drives me crazy but I love him. Speaking of love, I love these carrot cupcakes. Why? Because they are full of sneaky nutrition disguised as dessert and I figured out a less sweet and optionally dairy free frosting to put on top too!!
These are a great little treat for birthdays or dessert, or just because you want something yummy to celebrate the little (or big) things in life. I did make these with a gluten free all purpose flour base and they taste divine. You can totally use regular flour too in the same proportion. Instead of raisins, I opted for chopped dates as they are more fiber rich and equally as sweet. Split these bad boys in half and you can just see the delicious carrot and date awesomeness.
For the frosting, I kept tradition with a cream cheese based frosting but nixed the butter. I’m certainly not opposed to using butter but by using a combination of cream cheese and plain unsweetened Greek yogurt, you end up with a thicker consistency to start with meaning you need to add less powdered sugar to get the proper frosting thickness. Less sugar is a VERY good thing. To make it dairy free, simply use a dairy free cream cheese like Tofutti and a coconut milk based yogurt. I also used a vanilla bean paste for some real vanilla flavor and to give it some pretty little speckles in the frosting. It was so tasty I kept licking the frosting… the spoons, the bowl, the counter… um, yeah, it’s THAT good. So what are you waiting for?!?!
- 1¼ cups gluten free all purpose flour (regular flour also works)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup coconut palm sugar (or use ½ cup maple syrup)
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1½ cups finely shredded carrots (about 3 medium carrots, peeled)
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup chopped medjool dates (or raisins)
- 8 oz cream cheese (dairy or non)
- 6 oz plain unsweetened Greek yogurt (use coconut milk yogurt for non-dairy)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 to 1⅓ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon orange or lemon zest plus more for garnish.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line muffin pan with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix sugar, oil and eggs with a mixer until combined. Add carrots, applesauce and vanilla and mix.
- Add dry ingredients into wet and mix until combined.
- Stir in dates by hand.
- Divide batter among muffin cups. Cups will be full.
- Bake about 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool.
- Soften cream cheese and mix cream cheese, yogurt, vanilla and zest together with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar. Start with 1 cup and add more if you desire it thicker.
- For ease in piping/spreading the frosting, refrigerate before frosting to thicken it so it holds its shape.
- Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.
- Top cupcakes with a sprinkle of orange zest.